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New York Times' Ethicist endorses (some) piracy

The Ethicist - E-Book Dodge - Question - NYTimes.com He says--in essence--that if you've bought some text, be it music or book or film, then you have ethically purchased a license to enjoy that text in any format, even if you have to download it.
An illegal download is — to use an ugly word — illegal. But in this case, it is not unethical. Author and publisher are entitled to be paid for their work, and by purchasing the hardcover, you did so. Your subsequent downloading is akin to buying a CD, then copying it to your iPod. Buying a book or a piece of music should be regarded as a license to enjoy it on any platform. Sadly, the anachronistic conventions of bookselling and copyright law lag the technology. Thus you’ve violated the publishing company’s legal right to control the distribution of its intellectual property, but you’ve done no harm or so little as to meet my threshold of acceptability. Unsurprisingly, many in the book business take a harder line. My friend Jamie Raab, the publisher of Grand Central Publishing and an executive vice president of the Hachette Book Group, says: “Anyone who downloads a pirated e-book has, in effect, stolen the intellectual property of an author and publisher. To condone this is to condone theft.”

April 05, 2010

Auto-Tune the News #11: Pure Poppycock. (ft. Joel Madden)

YouTube - Auto-Tune the News #11: Pure Poppycock. (ft. Joel Madden)

Some theaters offering special screenings for the autustic

Autism movies: Cinemas turn up lights for families touched by autism - chicagotribune.com
At a recent screening of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" at the AMC Northbrook Court 14, the lights were a little brighter and the sound a little softer, and there were no ads before the feature film. Most of the moviegoers who had nestled into their seats probably didn't realize the screening was a special event part of a program that welcomes those affected by autism to gobble some popcorn, slurp a pop and enjoy the show. The screening was the latest installment in the AMC theater chain's Sensory Friendly Screenings. Audience members are invited to roam the aisles, dance, sing and talk out loud.

What's killing you in China today: Recycled Food Oil

Recycled Cooking Oil Found to Be Latest Hazard in China - NYTimes.com Last year NPR had a week-long series about life in modern China. One of the days was spent talking about the epidemic of toxic food--not in the too-salty and too-fatty American sense, but rather food that contains heavy metals, industrial lubricants, toxic waste, etc. This came right after Chinese corporations had been caught lacing milk and pet food with the toxin melamine to fool protein tests. Ever since I've been rather fascinated at how the thriftiness and new capitalism and shame culture (It's only bad if you get caught!) have conspired to make China into this perfect laboratory for deadly foods.
SHANGHAI — Regulators are investigating whether restaurants throughout China are creating food hazards by cooking with recycled oil, some tainted with food waste, and prominence given to the issue in the state-controlled media suggests that the problem could be widespread. The State Food and Drug Administration issued a nationwide emergency notice telling health bureaus to investigate the sources of cooking oil in mid-March. The notice came shortly after a professor and a group of students at Wuhan Polytechnic University announced that they had found widespread use of recycled oil in their region in an undercover investigation. The professor, He Dongping, asserted that recycled oil was being used to prepare 1 in 10 meals in China. Regulators are now searching for illegal oil recycling mills, and some health bureaus have begun releasing the names of restaurants and food establishments that were found to be using questionable oil. Last November, regulators in southern China raided several workshops for turning discarded waste — possibly even sewage — into cooking oil. . . .

April 04, 2010

SFPD's evidence storage warehouse is infested with feral cats

S.F. crime lab's new woes - army of feral cats This comes just months after a worker in a drug testing lab was caught doing all the drugs ever.
A multiplying army of feral felines has moved into a lab hangar at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard where the Police Department stores evidence from old crimes. The cats have been sleeping, eating rodents and going to the bathroom around evidence items and police files, some of them boxed up, some out in the open. One piece of evidence in the area of Building 606 where the cats have been living, police say, is the suit that Mayor George Moscone was wearing Nov. 27, 1978, when former Supervisor Dan White shot him to death in his City Hall office. The suit was not in a box, police say, but was tied up in a paper bundle and was not damaged by the cats.